The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns published the following statement in response to the Biden administration's decision to support an intellectual property rights waiver at the World Trade Organization for COVID-19 vaccines.
UPDATE: The following statement was updated on May 6, 2021, to clarify that the United States has announced support for an intellectual property rights waiver for vaccines only, without explicit mention of whether the waiver will apply to COVID-19 treatments, testing, or other related materials.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
On Wednesday, May 5, the Biden administration announced that it would support a waiver of intellectual property rules at the World Trade Organization in order to allow COVID-19 vaccines to be manufactured more widely.
“We rejoice in today’s news that the Biden administration will now support an intellectual property waiver to speed up production for the vaccines we need to end the pandemic,” said Chloe Noel, Faith Economy Ecology Project Coordinator at the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “We express our gratitude to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and look forward to her leadership as she works with her counterparts on the text of a waiver. We hope that other countries that have stood in the way of this proposal will follow Ambassador Tai’s lead and join in constructive dialogue to develop waiver text that advances the goals of the original proposal from India and South Africa.”
“Too many lives have been lost already, and too many more will become sick or die without vaccine access, especially in low- and middle- income countries,” Noel continued. “A just recovery requires that everyone have equitable and timely access to vaccines, treatments, and testing necessary to contain the pandemic. Advancing global vaccine access is our moral responsibility as a global community at the service of the common good. Today’s decision will help further that goal.”
Photo by Jernej Furman available on Flickr.